My grandchildren, twins Gunter & Liesel, moved to Wisconsin this year. Prior to this move Grampy and I enjoyed caring for them, in their Pasadena home, while their parents took a vacation or business trip. Granddaughter Charlotte moved from Seattle, WA to San Jose, CA in August of 2011. Granddaughter Nicole (Nicky) still lives nearby. She has been coming to our home to spend a lot of weekend time ever since she was born. Since she was 1-year-old she has also been spending one summer week a year with us, while her parents take an annual diving vacation. Grampy and I made our home child safe from the start. This included child gates, covering the outlets, and putting child locks on the kitchen cupboards. I moved all the sharps and glass/ceramic to above kitchen counter cupboards. I purposely left a lower roll-out cupboard unlocked. This was a favorite with all four of them until they reached the 2 year mark, and then none of them seemed interested in hauling out the Tupperware as toys.
Nicky has always had her drawer, another lower kitchen drawer. I’ve always placed special surprises in there for her like: margarine tubs, big calculators, non-skid pads, “safe” giveaways from meetings like stress reliever squeeze balls, laminated baby photos of Nicky with her family, and tiny toys. At 4 years old she isn’t as interested in tearing everything out of “her special” drawer. The contents of all the other drawers were safe, and therefore not locked. One surprising fact is that Nicky seems to know where everything is in the kitchen drawers. Need a flashlight, Scotch tape, pasta serving spoon, you name it – ask Nicky!
While Nicky is visiting she watches Nick Jr. on TV while eating breakfast; then we go out to do various things like: playground, library story time, learning store, pool, beach, or errands. When we return home I always say, “I’ll put on your shows while I make our lunch.” She settles in front of the TV, either with her toys or easel, and is soon mesmerized by the characters of: Yo Gabba Gabba, Max and Ruby, Dora, Kao Lin, Little Bill, Peppa Pig, and the Backyardigans etc. And so it went until one recent Sunday morning………….
Grampy always prepares breakfast on Sunday morning. One recent Sunday morning I looked into the kitchen to see Nicky on her bathroom stool counting and cracking eggs into a bowl. She then counted the strips of microwave bacon, and laid them carefully out on the microwave tray. She told Grampy, “I know how to crack eggs because I make cookies with Mommy.” She had cracked them perfectly.
Shortly after this breakfast incident I was in the kitchen preparing lunch. Nicky was watching TV, and playing alone as usual. Then she came into the kitchen, tugged on my jeans and asked, “Grammy can I help cook?”
“I said, “certainly you can,” and that was the beginning of my blog idea. I would teach Nicky to cook, and blog our experiences.
I want to teach my grandchildren to cook, to impart to them my passion for cooking, and to give them the self-confidence, and other benefits that come with the skill development. I want to teach them about nutrition using the USDA’s MyPlate model in conjunction with the recipes. Unlike playing with toys on the floor teaching my grandchildren about cooking and nutrition is easy. This is a big consideration for an older Grammy. Once you’re down there it’s hard to get up.
I also want to comment that my granddaughter Charlotte already has a talent for cooking, and helping her mommy in the kitchen. I’ve witnessed her, almost independently, prepare bread in the bread machine. She can wash and prep fruits and vegetables at the sink. This includes using a “safe” vegetable peeler. She assembles her own tacos at Chipotle. Her mommy allows her to safely contribute to the preparation of the family meal, and thereby she gains self-confidence with every new skill learned.
Thank you for coming to my blog. I will soon begin posting our cooking experiences. I want to build age appropriate skills using simple recipes and safe tools. I also need motivation to organize my cupboards, recipes, and replace some worn out tools. My grandchildren will be my motivation. We can do this all together. If you’re a mom rather than a Grammy you have more opportunity to share kitchen experiences with your kids on a daily basis. We can share our fun. I look forward to your comments.
Here are “some” of my proposed categories:
- Benefits of Teaching Children to Cook
- Cooking Skills
- Glossary of Cooking Terms
- Measuring Equivalents
- Nutrition MyPlate
- Kitchen Organization
- Safe Kitchen Tools
- Safety and Sanitation
- Shopping Trips
- Work-around Tools